News | 17 February 2022
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New mural for Pukehuia Newlands Skatepark

A newly completed mural at the Pukehuia Newlands Skatepark pays tribute to a bird which was once prolific in the area but is now sadly extinct.

A bright mural of two huia birds looking toward one another, painted on the wall of a skateboarding park, with plantings in the foreground and blue sky above.

The artwork is by New Zealand-born street artist Ash Sisson, or Chimp, and was commissioned to activate the area, enhancing the visual experience and contributing to a welcoming environment.

Senior Arts Advisor Pippa Sanderson says the mural is very fitting as Newlands Park, named Pukehuia – hill of the huia, was once an area covered with native trees and home to huia and other native bird species.

“The design speaks to the purpose of this space as one for recreation and reflection, and references the surrounding environment – its history, flora and fauna.”

Chimp says his design focuses on the energy of the huia, the Newlands community, and the future of the skatepark.

“Visually it is highly dynamic and pops like the actions that are performed within the park. The front facing wall features a male and female huia interacting, woven between hīnau flowers and abstract shapes the artwork links together and flows along like a line of tricks strung together by a skater.

“As the artwork wraps around to the side wall it becomes more abstract and suggestive of the huia’s form and breaks down into high energy shapes and patterns playing with rhythm, repetition, scale and contrast.

“The rear facing wall depicts an abstraction of the huia taking flight, as riders in the park will also do so. All of the walls feature a repeated colour palette and form language of shapes and line to connect and tie in the space.”

A mural of bright abstract colours painted on a concrete skate park, with blue sky above and trees surrounding.

The skatepark was recently upgraded as part of the redevelopment of Newlands Park, which includes new exercise tracks, native planting, natural play spaces and covered picnic and barbecue area.

It also features an older play area with tower, climbing, large swings, and slides, a basketball half court and pump track, artificial turf for games, wetland area and small teaching space, as well as the relocation of Newlands War Memorial into Newlands Park.

Planting around the park will include regenerative plants and trees such as harakeke, tī kōuka, nīkau, rata, kahikatea and totara.

There are strong ecological and educational themes at Pukehuia with the development of a wetland nature trail and the installation of interpretive panels designed by Bigfish Creative to inform visitors about the park design, recreational activities, planting, and heritage of the area.

This redevelopment project has been guided by the local community, including representatives from Ngā Hau e Whā o Paparārangi (local marae), Newlands Residents Association, the skate community and neighbouring Newlands and Bellevue schools.